New stroke team at Monument Health strengthens patient care

The new machine takes images of the blood clot to help the doctor dissolve the blood clot.
The new machine takes images of the blood clot to help the doctor dissolve the blood clot.(KOTA/KEVN)
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 7:10 PM MDT|Updated: May. 20, 2022 at 3:00 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The leading cause of long-term disability? The CDC says stroke. Monument Health put together a team to combat that statistic. The next step was to build a hybrid operating room, a space that combines a traditional operating room with a special machine.

Striking at any moment a stroke can have major effects on a person’s everyday ability. Having a stroke in western South Dakota often meant hoping for medicine through an IV to solve the problem or being prepped in Rapid City and then flying to Sioux Falls where Dr. Jae Kim would fix the clot.

The medication called TPA, or alter plate, to solve the clot, but sometimes the clot is so thick that it cannot be resolved,” explains Dr. Lien Diep, a Neurologist at Monument Health. “Sometimes you need Dr. Kim to pull that clot out.”

Dr. Lien Diep recruited Dr. Kim to be a part of the stroke intervention team and bring the impeccable machine to the hybrid operating room at Monument Health Hospital in Rapid City.

Dr. Jae Kim, an Interventional Neurologist at Monument Health says, “Because the blood vessel in the brain is blocked and what this machine allows us to do is basically, what’s called a catheter, which is a tube, into the brain level. Without this machine, it’s impossible.”

Dr. Diep praises Dr. Kim for his natural talent and can remove a simple clot in nearly 15 minutes. “Go into the brain blood vessels and take the clot out,” said Dr. Kim.

From the beginning of this story to now, if you had suffered a stroke, you would have lost 1.9 million brain cells, according to Dr. Diep, ”The faster we can open the blood vessel of the brain; the sooner brain can be saved.” Every minute the brain goes without blood, 1.9 million brain cells die.

The capability to relieve the clot in the brain in a short amount of time limits the long-term effects that a stroke can have on a patient. Previously, Dr. Diep said the trip to Sioux Falls took about two hours and due to weather conditions, sometimes the flight could not take place, but now the procedure can happen locally within minutes.

“Possibly the next day they are actually able to actually be discharged after having a possible major type of a stroke,” said Dr. Kim.

The stroke team at Monument Health has been making a collaborative effort, something Dr. Diep says takes a whole village to build. Dr. Kim has already been to work with the new equipment and is optimistic about his team, “Working with the team, the stroke team here, I think we can provide the best state of the art care, bar none, across the nation.”

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